'Relentless' Aussies ready for Pakistan

A top four finish is getting closer for the Australians as they aim to keep their perfect record intact

Allrounder Ashleigh Gardner has promised Australia will be "relentless" when they meet Pakistan in their fourth Women’s World Cup group match in Leicester on Wednesday.

Australia can move a step closer to sealing a spot in the tournament’s semi-finals if they maintain their unbeaten run against seventh-ranked Pakistan, who have never beaten the Southern Stars in eight previous encounters.

Pakistan have yet to record a win in this event, suffering heavy defeats to England and India after pushing South Africa in their opening match.

But there’s no risk of complacency, Gardner says, with every point crucial in a tournament where volatile English weather could yet play a deciding role in which teams fill the top four positions.

"We don’t want to take anyone lightly," Gardner said after Australia trained on a drizzly Tuesday morning at Grace Road.

"(A game against) Pakistan is just as competitive as England or New Zealand. 

"That’s one thing we’re really trying to do in our camp is be really relentless against everyone we play and that’s not going to change tomorrow."

Meg-astar shines brightest to guide Aussies home

Australia recorded an eight-wicket warm-up victory over Pakistan at the same venue last month, giving the Southern Stars an insight into their upcoming opponents. 

Since that match, Pakistan have played a further two matches at the venue.

"I think they’re a really strong bowling side and their bowlers are quite different to ours," Gardner said.

"Their paceys aren’t as quick as well and I think that’s effective, they swing the ball quite a lot.

"They’ve got a couple of good batters within their side, but once we get on top of them I think we’ll be all right out there.

"I guess being able to play on here more times than us does give them a little bit of advantage, knowing what the conditions are like.

"But I don’t think we’ll be thinking about that tomorrow when we go out to play against them."

Clinical Australia crush Windies in WWC opener

While Australia’s lower order – including No.7 Alyssa Healy, No.8 Jess Jonassen and Gardner at No.9 -  have yet to be exposed this tournament, the youngster doesn’t expect the batting line-up to be rejigged in any of Australia’s remaining group matches.

"I think it’s a really good thing that they’re doing their job at the top of the order so I don’t think that’ll change anytime," she said.

Pakistan’s opening match with South Africa went down to the penultimate over, but they were brought back to earth when England hammered 7-377 against them in Leicester.

And after a promising start to their showdown with fierce foes India on Sunday, which saw the Pakistan bowlers restrict India’s powerful batters to 9-169, they floundered in their reply to be bowled out for 74.

Semi-finals are all but out of the question now for the subcontinent team, but captain Sana Mir says her team will be fighting for pride on Wednesday.

"We are gutted with those results because we played really good cricket in the first game and the first half of the third game," Sana said ahead of Pakistan training on Tuesday.

"So there’s some feeling of disappointment at the way we were not able to finish off those matches.

"But what sport teaches you, you have to get back up again.

"It’s for the pride of ourselves and our country that we’ll play in this tournament and we’ll come out with the fighting spirit we showed against India and South Africa."

Pakistan captain Sana Mir vows to keep fighting // Getty
Pakistan captain Sana Mir vows to keep fighting // Getty

Sana is under no illusions that it will be a tough task for her team to counter the No.1 ranked Australians, but she said her team would be prepared to attack.

"(Australia) play a very ruthless brand of cricket," she said.

"They are very disciplined with their bowling and fielding and when it comes to their batting, they start from word go.

"We just have to be prepared for it. I think for any attacking approach, you have to attack also. 

"To stop teams like Australia, India and England, you have to take wickets and if you don’t take wickets, they will punish you."

Women's World Cup Guide



News, highlights and full schedule

Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

View every World Cup squad